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History of Decline of Roman Empire - Vol 1

Edward Gibbon

Book Overview: 

The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a major literary achievement of the 18th century published in six volumes, was written by the celebrated English historian Edward Gibbon.

The books cover the period of the Roman Empire after Marcus Aurelius, from just before 180 to 1453 and beyond, concluding in 1590. They take as their material the behavior and decisions that led to the decay and eventual fall of the Roman Empire in the East and West, offering an explanation for why the Roman Empire fell.

Gibbon is sometimes called the first “modern historian of ancient Rome.” By virtue of its mostly objective approach and highly accurate use of reference material, Gibbon’s work was adopted as a model for the methodologies of 19th and 20th century historians.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Seriphus was a small rocky island in the Aegean Sea, the inhabitants of which were despised for their ignorance and obscurity. The place of Ovid's exile is well known, by his just, but unmanly lamentations. It should seem, that he only received an order to leave rome in so many days, and to transport himself to Tomi. Guards and jailers were unnecessary.]

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[ Under Tiberius, a Roman knight attempted to fly to the Parthians. He was stopped in the straits of Sicily; but so little danger did there appear in the example, that the most jealous of tyrants disdained to punish it. Tacit. Annal. vi. 14.]

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[ Cicero ad Familiares, iv. 7.]





Chapter IV: The Cruelty, Follies And Murder Of Commodus.—Part I. The Cruelty, Follies, And Murder Of Commodus—Election Of Pertinax—His Attempts To Reform The State—His . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I borrowed the first two volumes—amongst my Dad's all-time favourites—from his study when I was around fourteen; and my enduring fascination with the Roman Empire, and ancient history in general, most likely stems from a combination of the heady brews of Gibbon's and Tolkien's masterworks, which...more

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a six-volume work by the English historian Edward Gibbon. It traces Western civilization from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium. Volume I was publ...more

Classic treatment by the eminent historian Gibbon of not only the contributing factors to the fall of the Roman Empire, but a blow-by-blow account of the course of its decline.

For more pertinent thoughts, please see the comment box below.

Well, it's not actually the last word on the Empire. Gibbon hated the Byzantines, thought they were appallingly religious and ineluctably corrupt. So he didn't have a good word to say on the Eastern Empire which lasted 1000 years after the fall of the Western Empire. Modern historians have rehabi...more

I have a question that I think you might be able to help me with: should we send this book into space? You know, download it into a golden thumb drive—or perhaps seal a nice leather-bound set in a container—strap it to a rocket, and let it float like the Voyager space probe for all of time. There...more

Description: Edward Gibbon’s masterpiece, which narrates the history of the Roman Empire from the second century A.D. to its collapse in the west in the fifth century and in the east in the fifteenth century, is widely considered the greatest work of history ever written. This abridgment retains...more

The history of human civilization and society is basically a continuum of idiots, sociopaths, murderers and bores, punctuated by the occasional rational individual whose life is cut short by those very sociopaths that succeed him. Gibbon's classic documents a tiny cross-section of some of the mos...more

“the vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of his works, which buries empires and cities in a common grave.”
― Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Volumes 1 - 6 = 3589 pages, and I can't think of more than 200 that I would have preferred to have ski...more

Reading parts of this again for work, and realised I never reviewed this absolutely massive book.

One of the most fascinating (and distorted) works of history ever written, created by one of the most famous (and biased and opinionated) historians of all time.

Full review to come.

The obvious issue to address in reviewing the 3,500-page unabridged edition of Gibbon's masterpiece, is whether the maniacal effort to attack such a work could ever justify preferring it over a single-volume abridged edition. That is an easy call. This work is occasionally tough, often exciting,...more

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